7 Ways to Help People Experiencing Homelessness

7 Ways to Help People Experiencing Homelessness

Black and white photo of a pair of shins leading into dirty white tennis shoes, laying down on a concrete street, indicating homelessness.
“Carry out a random act of kindness, with no expectation of reward, safe in the knowledge that one day someone might do the same for you.” -Princess Diana

We all want to help. By nature, humans are social creatures who experience empathy for others. It’s present when we watch the news, when someone in our office or school is sick or injured, and also when we walk by that disheveled person obviously experiencing homelessness on the corner with the beat up cardboard sign that reads Anything helps.

There are a myriad of ways to help our neighbors experiencing homelessness. Some of them readily spring to mind: volunteerism and donations are probably the first two we think about. And they are important so we will touch on them briefly but they won’t really count toward our others. While they are important, there are more ways to get involved.

What we know.

Volunteer. Let’s face it, time is precious in today’s insanely hectic world. Volunteering at the local shelter or kitchen isn’t always feasible. I do highly recommend trying to volunteer a few hours a year every year, however, to simply meet the people you want to help, have a minute to talk with them, learn their names. And I urge people to not just volunteer on holidays like Easter and Christmas. While those are great times to volunteer, many many many people dedicate their holidays to providing holidays for others. Most shelters and kitchens need help year round to keep things running smoothly, so volunteer during non-holiday times too. To find volunteer opportunities near you click here.

Donation. We all dread Spring Cleaning, but love how we feel after. Donating the items you are no longer using is a great way to help those folks living without permanent roofs. Don’t just consider food and clothing, however, consider hygiene products, blankets, and housewares. Many shelters have re-homing projects (the act of transitioning a person into a permanent housing situation). Those new apartments need microwaves, knife sets, couches and chairs, even televisions to make them feel like a basic home. Consider donating some of those items instead of just food and clothing. For instance, my partner and I recently transitioned our movie library to our digital platforms. That left a good many DVDs we could donate. Since many people who have been recently re-homed have limited means, that often mean they can’t afford cable or streaming services. Old DVDs are great items to donate, along with books, CDs, and board games. Here is a great article about all the different types of items to consider donating.

One other thing to consider donating is a pre-paid card to a grocery store. Many newly re-homed folks need to stock their pantries and refrigerators too. You’d be surprised how far $25 can go toward canned goods or fresh produce in some areas. For most of us, a measly twenty-five bucks won’t hurt us each month but can really help those trying to get settled back into the roof life.

Now onto the stuff you maybe hadn’t thought about before.

Information makes the world go ’round.

Educate. Let’s face it there are all sorts of negative stereotypes around being homeless and the people experiencing homelessness. That makes it hard for people to sympathize or empathize with those who do need help. Education can be simple or big. Maybe all you do is correct a friend or coworker, or a random stranger on the bus, when they express a homelessness stereotype. Maybe you make a phone call to a local city or county or state politician about the problems homeless people face. To find contact information for your representatives, click here.

If you have children, start there with education. Take them with you if you do volunteer. Let them see first hand the hardships many people experiencing homelessness face. Children can really lift the spirits of people who are down on their luck. I’ve seen how the infectious nature of a child’s innocence and hope can pull even the most downtrodden and cynical person back from the brink of depression or worse.

Inform. The best effort is mass communication with small time efforts (because the better spent time would be volunteering at a shelter with actual homeless people).

Did you know that many people don’t really think about how many people are in homeless shelters or living on the streets in their communities? Unless they’ve had a specific run in with a person living without a roof, they just don’t think about it. Contact your local news source, maybe your faith-based or non-faith-based organization, editors of civic newsletters. See if any would be interested in running a weekly or even monthly listing of local services available to the homeless. Even if a person isn’t homeless, we’ve all know someone just down on their luck who needs the help of an extra food box now and again, or just can’t afford new school clothes for their kids this year. You never know who you’ll be helping out by just making information available. Keeping people and the news informed about the state of affairs involving people experiencing homelessness is one of the ways The #humanKINDness Project helps too. To learn more about what we do, click here.

Advocate. Write letters to the editor of your local news source to promote awareness and understanding. Heck, while you’re at it, write to national publications too. Share information about the number of homeless people in your area (or country, if you’re writing to the national publication). Explain the different reasons why people become homeless. Wrap it up with suggesting ways that people in your area or even nationally can help people experiencing homelessness.

Take a stance.

Support. Shelters, low-cost or free clinics, mental health services, low-cost housing initiatives, and even public libraries are all resources and services the homeless rely on for basic needs and care. You can show your support for these programs and initiatives in your city by voting for officials who back the programs and also writing and speaking to other politicians who have not backed the programs in the past.

Oppose. While many cities and towns don’t make being homeless a crime, they do enact laws that prohibit things associated with homelessness, such as: sleeping in public, urinating in public, loitering on public platforms, even possessing a blanket outdoors can be illegal. Many cities and towns have also outlawed private citizens from making homemade foods and giving it away to others in public spaces like parks and parking lots. Stand up against crimes that propose to protect people but unfairly hurt those in the most need.

If you want something done right, do it yourself.

Create. If you’re in a position where you can give a homeless person a job or a day’s worth of work, do it! Maybe you can just offer to train somebody with a job skill like filing or let them mow your lawn or paint the fence. The thing is that small acts like this can make a huge difference to a person experiencing homelessness. Just don’t take advantage of them. Pay a homeless person who works for you a reasonable and fair amount of money, just like you would anyone else.

Lastly, Smile. Many people avert their eyes and hustle by when they see a homeless person on the street, whether panhandling or not. If you don’t have money or food or just don’t want to give it, that’s fine. At least smile and say hello to the person. If you have the time, maybe talk with them for a minute or two. Seriously, you’d be surprised how much a little human contact and kindness is appreciated by people experiencing homelessness.

The fact is, there are literally dozens of ways to get involved with helping those in need outside of the traditional donations and volunteering. What it takes is for people to stop solely talking about the issue and to start helping. Since the person we can radically change/affect the most is ourselves, we are the best place to start with one of these seven ways.

Do you know of or have seen homeless people in your community? Do you volunteer or donate on a regular basis? What about other tips for people who want to get involved that I haven’t mentioned here? Chime in! Remember that there is never such a thing as too much information or too much kindness.


PIC: A redheaded woman wearing ripped blue jeans, a white shirt, and a men's green tie. She is sitting on top of an industrial metal air conditioner in front of an exposed brick wall.BC Brown is the author of three novels and has participated in multiple short story anthologies. Having committed almost every ‘bad deed’ in the book of How To Be An Author, she now strives to educate others through humor and simple instruction, and uses her celebrity to advocate for others.

Coming Soon: Karaoke Jane

Books: A Touch of Darkness ◘ A Touch of Madness ◘ Sister Light (out of print)
Anthologies: Fracas: A Collection of Short Friction ◘ Quixotic: Not Everyday Love Stories ◘ A Chimerical World: Tales of the Seelie Court

7 Ways to Get More Exposure on Social Media Daily

Picture of two teenage girls smiling and making funny faces while sitting on a couch.
“People do not buy goods and services. They buy relations, stories, and magic.” – Seth Godin

“I don’t know how to get people to see my [fill in the product] on social media.”

Nope. Sorry. I cut off anyone who starts a lament to social media with this phrase. Especially authors. There are dozens of ways daily to gain exposure on social media. Not just from fellow writers (although don’t discount them entirely, they read too) but from honest-Abe readers. Take Twitter.

To tweet or not to tweet

The question really is: To Twitter Chat or Not to Twitter Chat. And it is absolutely to Twitter Chat.

A quick exercise. Open another tab in your browser (don’t do this in this one or else you will lose all my beautiful pearls of wisdom and have to back click and that just sucks). Go to Google. Type in “book chats Twitter.” I don’t know about you but about six Twitter accounts revolving around ‘book chats’ or ‘book marketing’ or ‘book readers’ came up. To top it off, a link dedicated to List of Regularly Occurring Bookish Twitter Chats by Book.Blog.Bake. came up. Hint: those would be good places to start.

Seriously. Click in and follow those accounts. Scroll through their feed. See if they host or participate in a Twitter chat that seems to be somewhat stable, regularly occurring, and something you’re into.

On average, I know of and participate in at least four Twitter chats a week. I’m not always the most regular at participation since, well, life. But I make it an effort to pop in sometimes and be seen, build relationships, learn stuff.

The bottom line is there are Twitter chats being held every day of the week, multiple times a day. Hence the title of this article. There are seven ways to get more exposure on social media daily because there are seven days in a week. And that’s just Twitter. Facebook has groups for readers; even Google+ does.

If knowing there are seven days in a week isn’t enough for you, here is my list of seven ways to get more exposure on social media daily:

  1. Know your demographic. Do some research. Know who you want, and “readers” is too generic. Do better.
  2. Decide where to spend your effort. You can’t be every at once unless you decide to quit working, never write again, and just be online in your jimjams. And then nobody wants to talk to you anyway.
  3. Commit to it. Engaging on social media takes commitment. If you have issues with that, you might want to rethink a profession that requires engagement and consistency and social ability.
  4. Engage. And I’m not just talking Picard here. You have to actually want to talk to people, not just hock your product. Be real. Be authenticate. Don’t be a douche.
  5. Karma Reach-Arounds. Give props to the chat organizer, and not just during the chat. Don’t get all stalker-y or anything, but make sure to thank them for organizing/moderating the event. Chats take time and patience and dedication. Thank them for that, and while you’re at it give ’em a little reach around no and again when you aren’t getting somethin-somethin out of it.
  6. Know when to take a break. It’s the ‘you’ show. If you don’t know anything about a topic and really don’t have an interest in the topic, don’t participate in the chat that week. Doesn’t mean you can promote it a little and say “Hey, this is some good stuff over here.” But know when to take some time off.
  7. Don’t be a hog. Are there literally dozens of chats on Twitter alone seven days a week? Duh. I already said this. Point of reiteration is to mention that while you can participate in every single one of them all the time, you shouldn’t necessarily. This goes back to #6. It isn’t the ‘you’ show. Give your audience a break sometimes. Remember putting yourself out there on social media to engage readers and hopefully get them to like you well enough to care to read your book/blog/song lyrics/whatever. You won’t endear nobodies if you are the annoying song on the radio that plays on every channel non-stop (we’re looking at you Titanic Celine).

“Why, BC, what Twitter chats do you like?”

Well, I’m glad you asked. I like these following people:

  • #K8chat – Publishing-related chat for readers and authors. Every Thursday from 9-10pm Eastern. Host: @K8Tilton
  • #StoryDam – Come talk about writing stories! Held every Thursday from 8-9pm Eastern. Host: @StoryDam
  • #litchat – LitChat is for book lovers. All books. All the time. Mondays and Wednesdays from 4-5pm Eastern. Host: @LitChat
  • #indiechat – Indiechat is a Twitter chat designed for indie and self-published authors. Every Tuesday from 4-5pm Eastern. Host: @BiblioCrunch
  • #NextLitChat – If you are a new adult author, reader, or curious as to what new adult is, this is the chat for you! Held every Thursday from 9-10pm Eastern. Host: @NextLitChat

Image of a redheaded woman in a black leather jacket. She has her hands held up in the American Sign Language sign for 'I love you.'BC Brown is the author of three novels and has participated in multiple short story anthologies. Having committed almost every ‘bad deed’ in the book of ‘How to Be An Author’, she now strives to educate others through humor and simple instruction, and uses her celebrity to advocate for others.


Books: A Touch of Darkness ◘ A Touch of Madness ◘ Sister Light (out of print)
Anthologies: Fracas: A Collection of Short Friction ◘ Quixotic: Not Everyday Love Stories ◘ A Chimerical World: Tales of the Seelie Court


Author’s Book Marketing Guide: Month 1 Pre-Release

One month to go. You are almost there with comprehensive pre-release strategy that will have your book come out of the proverbial gates a-swingin’! To date we have broken down what to do each month leading up to your book’s launch date, including media kits and contact procedures, arranging for public speaking events, internet presence with social media, organizational methods, graphic design and branding, and interpersonal relationships.

There is no easy way to say this, even with all the hard work you’ve put in so far, the months right before, during, and immediately after your launch are absolutely critical for your book success. History has shown in the traditional publishing industry that book sales are strongest in the first 90 days after release. It will be your measuring stick; and it has also proven to be the time when most books reach bestseller status. Even if that isn’t your goal, it certainly can’t hurt and, when dealing with traditional publishers, can show a strong presence enough to get your book on limited shelf space in stores.

In this section, to make sure you have as strong a start with your book release as possible, we will cover the following:

  • The media blitz
  • Tour scheduling
  • Street teams

The media blitz

You have a strong media list curated if you’ve followed Parts XXXXXXX on my blog. You have the press release polished and snazzy. You have your one-two punch media pitch. Now it’s time to put it all into action. Pitches and press releases should be sent out approximately four to six weeks before your launch date. While we know the world works in lightspeed paces, it takes real time for a reporter to cover a story, including working with their and your available schedules. If you start at the six week window, I recommend follow up reminders and additional releases weekly to keep on their radar.


Hosts often plan their guest appearances a few weeks in advance. This includes podcasts. They’re busy people, and they have their own marketing pre-release they have to account for. You will most likely need a combination effort with emails and phone calls to get a guest spot. I’ve found it often takes six or more contacts before you get the host’s attention without being too annoying.

The prep work for radio and podcasts is easy. Make sure your voice is well modulated; if you’re a heavy breather or throat-clearer, make sure to avoid doing so. It’s okay to have someone record you in advance like a mini-interview and then listen to yourself so you don’t sound awkward. Since I’m profoundly hearing impaired, I’ve had friends record me and listen to the recording on my behalf to make sure I don’t do things I might be missing. The same feedback can be helpful for normative hearing people too. Every little bit helps. The best audio tip to give about doing a radio/podcast interview is to remember to smile. It will make your host more comfortable with you (if you are in studio) and will make your voice sound open and friendly. The best preparation tip I can give is to have your top two or three points written down in front of you. Radio (and often podcasts) aren’t long, and they often have multiple guests. You may not get a lot of time to talk so make sure you get the most out of your time with the most important information.


Television can seem daunting. The camera is terrifying to many. Especially writers who are often introverted by nature. But you can use the fact that television is visual to your advantage, even if you don’t like the spotlight.

Find visuals that relate to your book. Depending on your book’s nature, you might be able to do some sort of “show and tell,” have photos or illustrations. For instance, if I was to write and promote a book around my blog posts 8 Tips for Shopping Thrift Stores and 5 More Tips for Shopping Thrift Stores, I could have models demonstrate the “do’s” and “don’ts” of thrift store-found fashion. Just ensure that you clear everything in advance with the production team and host who will need prep time to set the stage and react.

Even if you don’t have anything more to go along with your book, being an engaged and enthusiastic guest is good TV. Read a little on how best to dress for the program (or ask the stage manager), and then just do what you do – tell a story, only the story is how entertaining or impactful to others’ lives you and your work will be.

Tour scheduling

Again, you’ve done the work: media lists and scheduled interviews, set book signings, and planned for live events – now it’s time to promote them! Check with radio stations/podcasts about advance promotion of events; many will. Most bookstores promote who is going to be there well in advance with in-store signage; maybe you can even get them to put you on their marquee out front along the roadside. In addition, many bookstores air or publish their own press releases, send newsletters, and do special promotion to VIP members. Conferences and conventions always promote on their websites, even if you’re not a big name celebrity, in the program, and on advance PR.

Let’s face it, like authors, some venues promote better than others. Some do virtual zero promotion. You must remember to ask what promotion efforts they have planned. If they don’t have press releases planned, offer one you’ve written. Tell them they’re welcome to use it on their website and social media as well. Do you have a blog following? Promote there. Keep your signing and speaking schedule posted on your website’s homepage, put it on social media, send it to relevant websites before, during, and after your events. Get your street team (that we’ll be discussing shortly) to get involved however they can.

Keep media releases of different lengths. You want one that covers your whole engagement schedule. You also want short announcements for each event. The media isn’t likely to pick up every event, unless you’ve made some sort of impression on them, but overall odds are good that many releases will get some level of coverage.

Friends who blog? Ask them to mention your upcoming events if their readers are in your target audience. Keep the upcoming events in front of your own readers by making them part of your regular newsletter. Keep it relevant on social media by updating frequently. Post it at places like Shelfari and Goodreads on your profile. Certainly have it available on your Amazon or Barnes and Noble profiles.

At every interview, mention where you’re going to be next. I always mention my next event and the one following that, especially if the first date is close to the interview air date. That way people have two chances, and someone who goes “Darn. I’m not available on such short notice” will have a second option that is further down the road to attend. Keep those interviews linked on social media, website, and blog. Helping to drive continual traffic to the host’s or reporter’s site by posting your interview links is an easy and good way to thank them.

Remember to set up Google Alerts to let you know when your name and book title are posted anywhere on the web. It will be important to know how your information is getting out there and beneficial to see who is the most effective at distributing it. Doing so will allow you to streamline your communications going into the future. That’s not to say to cut out traffickers that weren’t the best, but you can reach out to them later and prioritize your go-to promoters first.

Street teams

This is an older term that stems from radio. Radio stations used to have interns flood the market with flyers and promotional items. Don’t we just wish we had that kind of manpower and budgeting? Well, in part, you do. At least the manpower.

Do you have a handful of good friends and supportive family members that can be counted on? Who had read your manuscript before it was published? Often times an author can count on their beta readers as the basis for their street team. From there, you can build outward. But first you have to take a little bit of time to train your street team on what it means and how they can help you.

Establish willingness

“You must always ask; never assume.” Just because a beta reader had time to read and critique your manuscript prior to publication doesn’t mean they will have time to join your street team. But if you don’t ask, you’ll never know. To incentivize street team members you can always offer something: a signed, advance-review copy of the book is often appreciated, a small gift that relates to your book, even tee shirts. Sometimes the team members just likes be the “first to know.” Every team is different.

Establish tasks

This is what you need. Typically, it’s best to ask street teams to complete easy, inexpensive tasks like:

  1. Ask local stores to carry your book and contact you for a signing;
  2. Request their local library branches purchase your book;
  3. Write early, positive reviews of your book on Amazon or favorite online seller, submit reviews to relevant blogs, and post to social media;
  4. Put up advanced flyers and posters about upcoming events at coffee shops, universities, or other popular hangout places;
  5. Attend your events, often acting as a “plant” to ask questions, start conversations;
  6. Invite people, especially their friends, to your events;
  7. Call in during radio or podcasts with questions;
  8. Suggest your book to local book clubs;
  9. Provide a gift of your book (maybe one that you provide to them) to influential people they know;
  10. Talk your book up with people they know!

Some people balk at the concept of “plants” in an event’s audience, but there is nothing unethical about having people who genuinely enjoyed your book in the audience at events. Thinking of it from the big marketing point of view. Companies give out free samples and trial sizes all the time in hopes people will talk up and also buy more of their product. That is all a good street team does in essence: they talk up your product and get people buying!


Okay. So we have covered what to do in the month prior to your book launch. If you’ve followed the steps each month then you should have a comprehensive book marketing strategy that will blow the roof off your book release.


BC Brown is the author of three novels and has participated in multiple short story anthologies. Having committed almost every ‘bad deed’ in the book of ‘How to Be An Author’, she now strives to educate others through humor and simple instruction.

Author’s Book Marketing Guide: Month 2 Pre-Release

Photo: Notebook with checklist and hand checking off the list.

The countdown is getting close! Are you able to breathe? Hopefully with the homework we’ve laid out in Months 6, 5, 4, 3 of the pre-release plan, the only nervousness you feel is the excitement of your new book almost ready for a booming and successful start! This month is all about “priming the pump” so to speak for advance sales.

This month we’re going to concentrate on:

  • Article directories
  • Press Releases
  • “Push” pages

Article Directories

Remember that in order to catch peoples’ attention, you have to be visible. The best way for a writer to increase their visibility (not to mention increase inbound links to their website, therefore increasing search engine results) is to have name recognition everywhere. That means contributing articles online. You can easily capitalize on any membership sites you belong to. Doing so increases your membership’s community library and helps establish yourself as an expert. (Keep in mind that this doesn’t have to be about writing or publishing. Any expertise can be linked back to your website, which will promote your book when it releases.)

There are also a number of articles directory sites. Articles directories are super easy ways for your articles to find their way into blogs, newsletters, and other sites. With these directories, you retain full attribution and gain links to your websites. Posting your articles for free is sometimes the quickest way to have people pick up on your material for redistribution among their blog, newsletter, or website. While the effort won’t be directly compensated, the exposure to different networks can be amazing. Most directories allow you to track your articles so you can ensure the poster does properly attribute you and provide a link to your information (like your website, book link on Amazon, etc). Sometimes your articles can even end up in publications around the world, increasing your visibility and establishing your expert status.

If you’re like me, the thought of writing “how-to” articles as a fiction writer was daunting. But, as you can see, as a writer, no matter that genre, you are an expert in writing, at the very least. From my own trials and errors (many, many errors!! Oy vey!) I learned how to market myself and my books better, and a lesson learned is something that can written and submitted!


Press Releases

All right, the time has come to put together your book’s press release. I recommend completing on main release, then all you need to do is tweak the first paragraph a bit here and there for other releases. The “tweaking” allows you to tailor it specifically for types of publications you want to target.

But I’m a fiction writer! you’re thinking. No worries. So am I, but a press release is easy. Think of it as backwards storytelling. In fiction we start with the broad and tailor down to the specifics. In press release writing, we start with the specifics and supply the filler information. So your “who, where, when, what, and why” information is at the top. Make sure to include a headline and lead sentence to “hook” the readers, just like you did when writing your back blurb. (Example: New Book Provides Step-By-Step Book Marketing to Authors). Don’t make the mistake of focusing on you as the author (example: BC Brown Launches New Marketing Book). The writer isn’t as important in the headline as catching the reader’s attention. The first sentence needs to hook the reader with what is new, original, or hmmm….weird about your book. Then hit ’em with the book title, release date, publisher, and author name. Head into the next paragraph with a one-line recap of the book’s content. The best is if you can focus on how to book solves a problem or introduces a useful process. If the book is fiction, then you need to highlight how your book is different or original from the others on the marketing, and your one-line recap should be a plot summary. Then add on your credentials.

You head into the next paragraph with any special launch events, media appearances, and book tour signings. Don’t forget to give accolades to your publisher or distributor (if you have one). I tend to give my editor a little shout out here also. Definitely include how your book is available – online, in bookstores, and/or through your website. If self published, it’s best to not mention that fact. It’s unfortunate and unfair but a lot of stigma is still tied to self publishing. Although many indie authors are making strides toward bettering the image in quality of work and expertise, it isn’t quite there yet.

Last paragraph should include your website information, push page (which we will discuss next), and contact information so interested stores or media outlets can follow up with you. Successful press releases are limited to around 200-300 words. Keep sentences short, use active verbs, and keep the focus on what the book delivers for the reader, not on the book itself. Your credentials should always show how your experiences is beneficial to the reader. Make sure to double-check for typos. You wouldn’t believe how many press releases have come across my desk with errors in the email or phone number for an author – yikes! (A useful hint is to read your press release backwards, starting at the bottom of the document and reading it one line at a time to the top. The break in continuity will keep your brain from “filling in the known gaps” and glaring errors should present clearer.)

Traditional media outlets are still sticklers for what they consider “professional submission guidelines.” And let’s face it, the traditional media outlets still dominate the landscape for news. Make sure you follow the traditional press release format. Here is the example I used for my novel, A Touch of Darkness:



CONTACT: Glorious Bastards Press 555-555-5555

A Touch of Darkness Revitalizes Gritty Noir with Dark Humor, Realistic Police Procedural, and Touching Humanity

     Mattoon, IL—A Touch of Darkness, An Abigail St Michael Novel, the newest title by fantasy author BC Brown, catapults into the modern-day, alternative reality of mysticism and madness with Abigail St Michael, former cop and psychic consultant.

A Touch of Darkness opens in the midnight world of psychics and serial killers with the death of a child, washed in the shadows of night and the alternating red and whites of police lights. Abbey St Michael is forced to confront an evil on her doorstep that may be closer than she ever realized. With her unique brand of dark humor and sarcastic wit, she struggles to catch a killer while not getting caught herself.

BC Brown’s first work, the dark fantasy Sister Light, Book One: Of Shadows and published under the pen name BB Walter, burst onto the sci-fi/fantasy scene first as short fiction and then expanded by request of fans for a full-length printing. Sister Light then went on to repeated sold out signings while on book tour and earned high praise from reviewers and readers alike. In A Touch of Darkness, Brown has brought all the sweeping vision of epic fantasy to contemporary paranormal mystery with an added noir grittiness and realism evident in its market pre-sales.

A Touch of Darkness is published by Glorious Bastards Press, a new author collaborative imprint. The Abigail St Michael Novels are distributed in the U.S. by Simon & Schuster. Learn more at www.bcbrownbooks.com.

When submitting your press release make sure to embed it in the body of your email. Do not attach it as a document. Understandably reporters are uneasy about opening attachments for fear of viruses. Many firewalls are built to keep out attachments for that reason. You should always include a personal note to the correspond in an effort to build personal relationships. Keep it brief however. I usually start with a line or two about one of their recent articles I’ve read. Just remember to be sincere, actually read the article. Then wrap it up with a polite note asking their consideration for your release.

Don’t forget about all the paid and free press release distribution services. The paid ones range in price. I’ve seen them go from inexpensive to costly, depending on their presence and distribution, plus bonuses that can be added. I’ve used PR Newswire in the past. Free sources I like to use are OpenPR and 24-7PressRelease. There are numerous others, and I suggest doing a little websurfing to see one that fits you best.

Why press releases? Every release that gets picked up online will drive traffic to your website and the push page we’re about to discuss. It also helps boost search engine results, creates buzz about your book, and builds visibility about you as an expert. Don’t forget to use your press release when emailing bookstores too. Their PR person will be able to use it in their marketing when setting you up for book signings and events. Always notify media personally of events when you’re going to be in the area as well. And don’t forget about capitalizing on the “homegrown” aspect – let local professional association publications, alumni magazines, community event publications – know about your book and who you are. You’re a celebrity now!

Push Pages

A push page is an industry term that allows for online pre-sales of your book. This can be done even if you are self publishing by creating a pre-order button on your website.

Most commonly used in non-fiction, push pages are becoming popular in genre fiction work as well. Typically push pages (for fiction) use pre-ordering by offering bonus materials, such as a short story in the same genre etc. It can be anything really (audio recordings, swag, etc) from the author. The point is an incentive to commit to and purchase the book prior to its launch. Another fun way to market (and grow your audience and author network) is to ask other authors to cross promote with you. You can ask them to offer an excerpt or downloadable chapter, article, discount (anything) to your launch. Just remember that you want similar content without competing messages. This can work especially well if you and an author friend have opposite publication schedules. Also, ensure you have a way to fulfill the cross-promoted material (or the material you are providing) so everyone gets what you’ve promised.

To recap: this month you should be working on article directories and submissions to them, press releases to be sent out, and push pages for pre-release sales. If you haven’t yet, you should make sure you have bookmarks, business cards, posters, and book “fliers” designed and ordered. Send out your press releases and review copies. Contact bookstores to schedule those important signings. Start scheduling conventions and conferences for speaking opportunities and signings.

During all of this, make sure you update your spreadsheet with notes as to who you’ve contacted, when, and responses received. This includes media, reviewers, and book stores. Make notes about personality, outcomes, and overall experience. You can work with those who are willing to work with you instead of against you by keeping accurate notes. And it will save you a lot of time in the future! I also consider what “swag” I will be giving away at future events. In the beginning, I suggest keeping it small: bookmark with some type of giveaway (I suggest a short story download), maybe pens or magnets, candy). Keep it simple and small at first. Find ways to tie it to you or your book when possible.

Okay, well that wraps up your 2 month pre-release. You are well on your way to a successful launch if you’ve followed the steps laid out. Remember, by following each of these little by little you save yourself a lot of last minute stressing and initials sales that may be discouraging, to say the least.

BC Brown is the author of three novels and has participated in multiple short story anthologies. Having committed almost every ‘bad deed’ in the book of ‘How to Be An Author’, she now strives to educate others through humor and simple instruction.

The Long Walk by June Hardison

The Long Walk by June Hardison
Inspirational Fiction
Donovan Evans, high school baseball standout, has everything going for him, including his ego. Trying to escape the pressures of parents and prospective college coaches, Donovan finds himself arrested and headed towards community service, where he makes an unlikely friend who reminds him of the person he was intended to be. This is a story about an athlete and a multi-disabled young man, and how two people from very different backgrounds can change each other’s life.

“Hey, do you mind if he sits with me today?”
As carefully as he could, Josh grabbed a milk. His hands shook as he placed it on his tray next to his sandwich. The kids behind him, visibly perturbed, let out sighs and rolled their eyes at how long it was taking Josh to get his food.
“Uh…sure,” Kate slowly said. Her eyes narrowed with curiosity seeping around the edges.
Donovan whispered a “thanks” and quickly walked over to Josh to help him out.
“You know, the food isn’t good enough for you to be thinking so long and hard about what you’re going to get,” Donovan said when he reached Josh.
Josh looked up with a startled expression on his face. “D? What you doin’ here!”
“Just here to help a dude out. That’s all.”
“Man! No, I dot it,” he said as Donovan reached for his tray.
“Are you sure, because I can carry your tray, man.”
“No, D. I do it,” he said with a smile.
“Ok, well come on and sit with me today.”
“You serious?” His eyes wide, he picked up his pace with his walker.
“Of course. I already told your sister that you would be sitting with me. Its tons better than having to listen to all their girl talk, right?” Donovan nudged him with his elbow.
“Oh, yeah,” Josh laughed.
They made their way across the cafeteria to Donovan’s table. It was a long walk by Josh standards. He would lift and place his walker down carefully so he didn’t spill his food, take two steps, and then repeat the process. Donovan stayed with him the whole way. 10, Krysta, and the others at the table stared with mixed expressions. Steve smiled, Matt looked confused, and Krysta narrowed her eyes. Donovan’s heart beat quickened and for a moment he wondered if he had made the right decision by bringing Josh over. The last thing he wanted was for Josh to become a target on Krysta’s gossip page. Donovan took a deep breath and then looked at the group with a smirk. Time for them to broaden their horizons, he thought to himself with a laugh. He would protect Josh from Krysta.
About the Author
June grew up in southeastern New Mexico playing sports and reading books. Married with two boys, she is having a blast watching those two boys grow up into men. Her time is mainly spent with family

and helping others through her job with working with special education students. She feels blessed to be able to share stories that entertain and inspire.

Connect with June:

Author Interview: Sherri Rabinowitz

Today I’m privileged to have the talented Sherri Rabinowitz on my blog to learn more about this wonderful radio hostess and author.


I would love to have been one of the bright young things in London during the 1920’s.

A bit of the exotic but familiar with London. And the 1920’s were definitely a singularly magical time that have also held a nostalgic, romanticized pull for me as well. I admit I’ve shared this same idea. Only it was France during the 1920’s for me. It was London during the 70’s & 80’s, during the emergence of punk rock.


I read a lot, I meditate, I do yoga and swim.

I’m big on meditation as well. Although I’m only just exploring yoga. Many of my friends swear by it for overall health and wellness, and it appeals to my personal need to explore the self. I’m not much of a swimmer myself, although I know how many benefits it has and I also adore the water. But I’ll confess I can’t swim much more than a dog-paddle so I do fear deeper water that I can stand up in. Swimming lessons are on my must-do list.


I used to be far more naïve and gullible, I am rather cynical now, sadly that comes with experience.

I agree that a cynical nature can come with wisdom and experience. Myself, I try to balance that cynical nature with deliberate hope. I’ve found that hope allows me soften the hard edges of cynicism.


I am actually quite shy and insecure.  In some ways I seem to tell everyone everything but if the truth be told I am actually very private.

That kind of outreach with telling people the world can be our insecurity reaching out for connection. Since we are looking for reassurance, sharing ourselves with others is one way to look for it, but I don’t believe it dims the want for privacy any. By telling people things, you are actively sharing your life – inviting them in so to speak – but you’d feel a sense of invasion if people “dug up” that information on you.


The Bobsey Twins

Strangely enough that is one series I never read growing up. Of course since my sisters are ten and eleven years older than I am, I didn’t read many “kid” books or series in my youth. Naturally I wanted to be like my big sisters so I tended to read, or have them read to me, whatever they were into. It was a lot of Stephen King, Isaac Asimov, and comic books in my more formative years. I didn’t read many of the classic children’s books until I was a young adult.


I am re-reading Sherlock Holmes.

Wonderful! I’ve been picking one or two classic Holmes to read each year as well. 


Too many beloved books to have a favorite.

I understand. It is often acutely difficult to narrow down favorite books. I tend to narrow them as far as 3 top favorites in each genre.


That’s hard; all of my writing is important to me, they are like my children.  I think my collaboration with Anja Gruber for Different Is Beautifulthough is something special.

Our work often touches us in many different reasons. It would also be difficult for me to pick one I am most proud of. 


[I] wanted to do something to stop bullying, and I felt it starts with what we teach children as they grow. [T]his was my contribution to bring love, acceptance and understanding to this generation.

Bullying is a real problem today. I’m not saying kids are any meaner or more aggressive than in past generations, but we’ve certainly become more cognizant as a society of the impact children have on the emotional development of other children. I’m glad many people like yourself are keeping that awareness up. 


The late Ray Bradbury, he wrote so brilliantly and he was such a lovely man.

Ray Bradbury is a wonderful choice. He was a brilliant writer. To speak with him and be able to ask him intimate questions would be like getting to drink from a fountain of wisdom, in my opinion.


I am afraid I would never do that.  It’s just not in me.

It’s good you’re so grounded as a person and writer to know that wouldn’t be something you’d be capable of. I think I’d be all too capable, but it would take a piece of my soul I’d never get back.


I am writing a YA novel and historical romance.

Hopefully you’ll give us a few sneak peeks along the way…? 😉


RM Alexander, Mary Dee, Marie Trevithick

Now for some random questions!


You bet, it is a bit arrogant to think we are all alone in this big vast universe.

I couldn’t agree more. Statistically it doesn’t compute we are all alone.


A bird so I could fly. 

I share the same want. My dreams often consist of me having the ability to fly, or being a big that can fly.


Star Trek, (though I do love Star Wars I never became obsessed by it, except by Harrison Ford but that is category all by its self).

Definitely a kindred soul here. I enjoy Star Wars. I know a lot about it too. But I adore Star Trek.


Gosh, that’s hard, I really love both of them for different reasons but I guess I will go for the first one that touched me, Kirk.

From the original series, for me, it was always Spock. Captain Picard has always been my ideal however.


 I don’t know, I hope he does well, I am just hoping for the best.

So far I think the general notion has been he is doing a good job. I don’t doubt he will continue to try to live up to the expectations of fans since he himself is a big fan.




I did do Star Trek role playing through the mail for a bit, but I never got into it.  I love playing cards, all kinds of games of chance. I love to play Monopoly and chess.  When I play chess I think of my Dad.  I also love Mah Jong. I learned [to play it] from my Mom.

Ah, so you’ve done some role playing, if not D&D. I haven’t ever played a Star Trek role playing game, while I have done a Star Wars series of games before. While I’m not a big fan of Monopoly (I’m more of a Clue kind of gal), I adore card games! A childhood friend taught me chess. I’ll admit I’m not terribly good at it though. I’ve always wanted to learn Mah Jong, but I’ve not had anyone to teach me or play with however.


A lot.  I am usually reading books for my show, and reviews.  But I love to just read for pleasure too, and I read a lot of fan fiction as well.  I am always reading.

That’s interesting. My own reading tends to be smaller in content. Usually because I try to only read within whatever genre I am currently writing. Sometimes that includes multiple genres (like currently epic fantasy and contemporary fiction) but juggling multiple projects and trying to juggle corresponding reading content is difficult.


All three. [S]orry, I am too curious to stick to one.  But when I read a book I prefer to have an actual book in my hands, it is just comforting and beloved that way.

I own a Kindle. I use it (maybe) a third of the time to read. I too love the feel of a real book in my hands. There’s something visceral about the aroma, feel, and weight of a book.


(Dead) Dorothy Sayers and (living) J K Rowling.

Big Rowlings fan here. (Duh, fantasy!) I’ll confess I don’t know Dorothy Sayers. Yays! A new author to look into. 🙂


Dorothy Sayers’ because mysteries was the first genre I fell in love with. [S]he was my first favorite and Agatha Christie’s favorite so I had to read her.  I find her books both addictive and fun.  A deadly combination. For JK Rowling, I am such a Harry Potter fan! I enjoyed her two other books but Harry is still my favorite; I just became so engrossed in that world.  My Dad, brother and I would talk about it all the time, it was special. [S]ince I lost my Dad i[t] is elevated to the eighth degree.

Having that connection with someone we love and something we’ve shared, whether it is a book, movie, or anything, keeps more of a bond, an impression. It becomes something to cherish because it was shared.


To be accepting of others differences,  love for the excitement and adventure of reading, to think and choose for themselves, and to nurture any form of creative expression they display. 

All incredibly important values to instill in our children.

Thank you, Sherri, for chatting with me today about you, your life, and your art. 

Sherri has been writing since she was a small child. She was inspired by Ray Bradbury and Agatha Christie. She had always loved writing but has had to make a living in a varied number of ways. She worked as an actress, a travel agent and in several forms of customer service. Her passion though has always been writing. She loves and enjoys both reading and writing fan fiction.Her first book Murder Inc. was a fan favorite, Fantasy Time Inc. was nominated for a Global Ebook Award. Her brand new book; Different Is Beautiful is already a best seller. It has been #2 in hot releases, #2 in Early Childhood Education and #3 in Preschool & Kindergarten on Amazon! And it won the Gold (First Place) for Global Ebook Awards for Children Picture Books Fiction category! Sherri was nominated for the Shorty Award! Sherri is the host of Blogtalk Radio’s Chatting With Sherri.  

Sherri is the producer of Sherri’s Playhouse and the home of The Chatty Award!! 

Entering My Second Half; Ebook; http://www.amazon.com/Entering-Second-Half-Sherri-Rabinowitz-ebook/dp/


Eliza Green’s 5 Myths of Writing (Guest Post)

Thanks to BC Brown for having me on her blog. I’m really excited to share with you some of 

my experiences as a writer. When I started writing, I had some silly notions about what I 
needed to do to succeed. So here are my top five myths about writing. Yes, I’ve fallen for all 
of these.

1: Putting words down on paper makes me an author.

No. Writing makes you a writer. Changing your story into something people will want to 
read, then polishing that work with a good cover and use of an editor makes you an author. 
That’s a very simplified view, but it’s where you start. The first story I wrote was a women’s 
fiction book. I sent it out to agent after agent and received dozens of rejections. If I was to 
re-read that book today, I’d say I just threw a story down on paper with no care given to 
how it was structured or no attempt to make some characters more than one-dimensional.

2: All good authors wait for inspiration

If we all hung around for that, we’d be a long time waiting! Sometimes you’ve got to coax 
the ideas out. I’m lucky. Some people don’t remember their dreams but mine are vivid and 
interesting. The better ones I jot down. It’s not an idea for a book but a strand, a morsel. If I 
leave it there long enough, it might percolate in my mind. Or maybe I’ll just forget about it. 
Walking is good to help tease out the ideas. If I’m stuck on how to move a story on, I’ll walk 
to make sense of it. 

3: If I publish a book, people will find me.

Oh, how I wish that were true! I started writing in 2009. I’m going into my fourth year of 
publishing with four published books to my name. I started to see traction on my books in 
2015 when readers were finding me organically. Before that, I hounded reviewers (in a 
polite, friendly way). I featured on as many blogs as I could until two years later I burnt out 
and pared my activities right back. Now, I’m ramping up the activities again, but in a much 
more focused way. Finding readers takes time and lots of patience. I’m not the most patient 
person in the world 

4: Now that I’m an author, I can quit my day job.

If only! I still work full time and every other minute of my time goes to my writing career. If 
you’re in this for the long haul, sacrifices must be made. You have to slog it out during your 
personal time until you’ve reached your acceptable bottom line figure, the amount of 
money you can comfortably support yourself on. This year I’m ready to make a change. I 
want to move from full time to part time so I can write more frequently and increase the 
number of books I have. I can’t wait!

5: Authors should expect good reviews if they’ve put the work in.

And authors can comment on bad reviews, right? Wrong. It’s a cardinal sin to expect 
anything in this industry. If you put your best polished story and genre-appropriate cover 
out there hopefully readers will like what you’ve written. But being an author means more 
than hitting a publish button. It means taking criticism and learning to separate out the good 
from the bad. You learn from the good but you have to be open to it. Being humble goes a 
long way in this business. Readers don’t owe you anything. You’ve got to earn your place. 
It sounds like a lot of work and it is. But believe me, the rewards are amazing!

Becoming Human

Tasked with determining the threat level on Exilon 5, Bill Taggart hunts the alien he believes murdered his wife. But what he learns about the race living there forces him to rethink everything he believes.

Back Cover:

Two worlds. Two species. One terrifying secret.
In 2163, a polluted and overcrowded Earth forces humans to search for a new home. But 
the exoplanet they target, Exilon 5, is occupied. 

Having already begun a massive relocation programme, the World Government on Earth 
sends Bill Taggart to monitor the threat level of the Indigenes, the alien race that lives on 
Exilon 5. Bill is a man on the edge. He believes the Indigenes killed his wife, but he doesn’t 
know why. Until now. 

Stephen has every reason to despise the humans and their attempts to colonise his planet. 
To protect his species from further harm, he must go against his very nature and become 

Laura O’Halloran is losing her daily battle with Seasonal Affective Disorder. Her only chance at recovery is leaving the dark Earth for the sunnier climate of Exilon 5. She hopes her credentials as a World Government employee will secure her a one-way trip, but with the ever increasing relocation demand that is not a guarantee.

Her discovery of a deadly secret threatens her life and that of Bill and Stephen. A secret so 
great it could rip apart both worlds.

Buy links


Barnes and Noble




So You Think You Can…Writer? (Part 2)

I wrote an article a couple of weeks back telling people that the act of writing doesn’t make one a writer. There were waves. There were angry emails. There was a barrage of supportive private messages. It seems everyone had an opinion on what it takes to be a writer.


So, in the wake of the conversation, I’m going to write another article on what it takes to be a writer.

1) For details, read the previous article here.

2) Never let criticism deter you.

If you’re the type of person who lets every bad word slung in your direction send you to bed crying, honey, writing isn’t for you.

Let’s go over a few things as explanation.

1) Your family and friends LOOOOOOOVE your writing! Well. La-dee-freaking-dah. That isn’t good enough. Have you had someone who loves you, truly loves you, tell you they hate it? If they did, how did you take it?

Being a writer is hard. Like with any art, it’s an extension of your soul. You offer it up willing and say “Here world, shit all over my very life’s blood because no matter what you say and do I’m going to keep writing.” Because that is what you do if you are really a writer.

People gonna hate. That should really read “People gonna hate you.” But it can’t be a deterrent. To be a writer, you have to have the pathological obsession with 1) words, 2) the very act of writing, and 3) the need to shove it in other peoples’ faces what you’re doing.

2)  I write for me and no one else. Well. La-dee-freaking-dah. I hear this one a lot. You know what? I write for me too. I am the audience when I sit down and write a poem, a short story, a novel. I aim to please myself first and foremost with the story. I also know, however, that deep down there is someone I want to reach out to with that piece of writing. It doesn’t matter what size the intended audience is, if there is any audience then #3 applies to you.

As with #1, the obsession with words is also a writer’s way of saying “Aren’t I clever?” Whether we’re a simple or bloated writer, we love finely crafted words. We’re the ones who jot down (or simply underline within the text) a beautiful phrase we read somewhere. We’re the ones who spend an hour writing, revising, and rewriting one five-word sentence.

#2? I covered that a bit in the previous article. If you don’t physically, emotionally, and mentally want to sit down and write; if it doesn’t give you a little thrill that you are about to create a world that didn’t exist until right then; if writing is nothing but pure torture without any physical, emotional, or mental satisfaction derived and you’re only waiting to type THE END so you can be published, this profession isn’t for you.

Yes I anticipate receiving more messages and email after this article. Yes I expect some of it to be belligerent, asking me who the hell I think I am. I say bring it. Because I am a writer. I welcome criticism, or else I wouldn’t be a writer. What I want others to ask themselves is if they think they are truly writers? Is it in their bones?

So, I want to know, do you still think you can writer?

  BC Brown is the author of three novels and has participated in multiple   short story anthologies. Having committed almost every ‘bad deed’ in
 the book of ‘How To Be An Author.’ She now strives to educate others through humor and simple instruction.
Books: A Touch of Darkness ◘ A Touch of Madness ◘ Sister Light

Upcoming: Karaoke Jane (2016)

The Origins of a Dark and Suspenseful Urban Fantasy by The Felix Chronicles: Freshmen author R.T. Lowe

I drive to work. It takes me about an hour each way. Most people consider it a massive time suck, and for the most part I wouldn’t disagree, but all those hours alone with only the thoughts in my head triggered an idea. I started telling myself a story. The story took place on a college campus and the main character was a freshman. His name was Felix. In some ways this freshman (and the story) was quite ordinary. Felix made friends, went to class, studied, and partied like any eighteen-year-old away from home for the first time. Then I took that basic story and layered it with elements that interest me. After all, I was making it all up in my mind while stuck on the Merritt Parkway to entertain myself. So this is what I did:
·       I made Felix suffer. I’m a firm believer in putting your protagonist through the wringer. He steps foot on the campus of Portland College already with a heavy heart (his parents recently died in a mysterious fire) . . . and then it only gets worse for him.
·       I created a world in the midst of an approaching darkness, where strange creatures roam the nearby forest and a serial killer (the “Faceman”) murders teenagers who fail a “simple” test. The encounters with the unfortunate victims are chilling, violent and bloody. I made the decision ‘to spare no gore’ after a great deal of thought, fully aware that I was potentially subjecting myself to criticism. I understood that it would shock some (and most likely remove the book from the reading lists for those under sixteen), but I didn’t want to hint at the violence or rely on my readers’ imaginations. There are characters in my book who are truly bad people (or flesh eating monsters, in some cases) and I took the position that their actions should be described in such a way that the reader will understand that there is no limit to their cruelty. To put it another way, I want my readers to literally wince at the prospect of ‘what will happen to that poor girl when she can’t move the piece of wood with her mind’. Spoiler alert: nothing good. And although the campus of Portland College appears immune to the spreading darkness, beneath (and within) its stately lecture halls and ivy-shrouded façades, a hidden world awaits those who can unlock its secrets.
·       I told the story from multiple perspectives, shifting scenes (and chronology) to keep the reader off balance. There is undoubtedly some complexity to the tale, but I believe Young Adult/New Adult readers are looking for stories that make you think. I drive the story forward through the eyes and thoughts of a dozen different characters. Some chapters seem unrelated to the “main” story (especially the prologue which takes place in the 4thcentury), but the pieces all connect as the plot unfolds and Felix learns that he may be ‘different’ than everyone else.  
·       I created characters who keep you guessing. In the real world, the “good guys” can be as flawed as the “bad guys,” and sometimes the line between good and bad is a matter of perspective. I also made sure that the “magic system” in my story allows for amazing, jaw-dropping displays of supernatural power. The way I see it, if you’re going to write in the realm of the paranormal you may as well go all the way: Let’s just say you wouldn’t want to start a fight with some of the characters in my book.  
·       In The Felix Chronicles, everything is at stake. I’ve always liked stories where the stakes are high, and they couldn’t be any higher than the fate of the world hinging on the outcome of a war that has raged for nearly 2,000 years.
·       I included humor (Felix’s roommate, Lucas, appeared on a reality TV show and he lightens the mood at all the right times) and romance (Felix has a love interest (or two) and Lucas has several as he’s not afraid to use his celebrity to his advantage) to compliment and counterbalance the action and horror.
There’s much more to TFC: Freshmen, but those are some of the highlights. Once I had it locked down tight in my head I sat down and started to write. 500 pages later (and a year or two of very little sleep) I published the book. It may not be for everyone, but I suppose that’s to be expected when you write for an audience of one. And who said nothing good can come from a long commute?
Author bio: R.T. Lowe lives in Newtown, CT.
Back cover summary:
Reeling from a terrible accident that claimed the lives of his parents, Felix arrives at Portland College hoping only to survive the experience. In time, however, his reality star roommate shows him there is more to higher education than just classes, shared bathrooms and bad dorm food, and Felix gradually dares to believe he can put his past behind him.
 But a fateful storm looms on the horizon: In the nearby woods, two hikers become the latest victims in a series of gruesome murders; a disfigured giant embarks on a vicious cross-country rampage, killing teenagers who fail his ‘test’; and an ancient society of assassins tasked with eradicating the wielders of a mysterious source of power awakens after a long silence. Only one man—the school’s groundskeeper—knows that the seemingly unrelated events are connected, and that an eighteen-year-old boy stands in the center of the storm.
Twitter: @TheRTLowe

Free Book Giveaway! 2 Print Books, A Touch of Darkness and Quixotic: Not Every Day Love Stories, from Author BC Brown

That’s right! I’m giving away 1 print copy of A Touch of Darkness (my urban fantasy novel) and 1 print copy of Quixotic: Not Every Day Love Stories (short story anthology) August 13, 2015-August 19, 2015. 

Enter to win yours today!!

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